Read This Before You Call Me Privileged

It’s crystal clear to me. I am very privileged. I am a 6'2 white male and I was born into a wealthy family. See, my grandpa owned dozens…

It’s crystal clear to me. I am very privileged. I am a 6'2 white male and I was born into a wealthy family. See, my grandpa owned dozens of Big and Tall stores and when he sold them, my college fund was formed out of mid-air (AKA, his hard work). I grew up going on lot’s of cruises and we traveled a lot as a family. Then the 2007 crash happened, my parents got divorced, and life changed a little for me. THAT is a privilege. Some people’s whole livelihoods got wrecked in the crash and for me, the only impact I felt was we stopped going on vacations and we didn’t spend money so freely. So I think it’s safe to say that I grew up in a privileged life and that has allowed me to have the life I have today. Well, kinda. There were some bumps in the road.

I write this post as a response to whenever anyone calls me privileged. I’m not entirely sure their motives behind their statements, but I have a hunch that they say that assuming that I don’t know what it’s like to live a hard life. Like it was all given to me from childhood. It could also mean that I’m out of touch with the real struggles of the average day Americans. This is where I throw a wrench in the story.

I’m Diagnosed With Kleine-Levin Syndrome

From birth, God had something in store for me. He planted something in my brain that only decided to reveal itself in my junior year of college. I have Kleine-Levin Syndrome. A rare neurological disorder that has sent me into the deepest and darkest depths of hell. KLS sends me into random episodes of disorientation, realization, and for lack of a better word, hell. I’ve had 23 episodes in 8 years. The shortest one has lasted a week and the longest lasted 2 months. Here are some things that I went through because of my mental illness:

  • I dropped out of high school my senior year

  • I lost best friends because they couldn’t understand how to help me or be friends with “a crazy person”

  • I was forced to go to state college so my mom could take care of me when I went into episodes in college. I had 14 in my first two years of college. For those wondering, that’s why I never left.

  • I stopped drinking or smoking cold turkey Junior year of high school. I didn’t have a sip of alcohol all through college. Seems basic, but imagine if you went to parties sober and if you could do it.

  • Getting diagnosed with Schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder with Psychotic symptoms

  • Going to work at a camp only to get sent home a week later

  • Eating uncontrollably in episodes, which has affected my weight and my relationship with food

  • Been fired from jobs after starting just after a few weeks

  • Consistently missing school and having my grades suffer

  • Being the “crazy guy” at school

  • Pissing off a whole sorority due to some of my symptoms

  • Wanting to take my own life

I am not listing these things for you to take pity on me. In fact, you can’t pity me. My life is fucking amazing. I am in the best relationship I ever could have asked for. I run two companies with the two smartest cofounders I ever could have met. I have an amazing family who supports me in my endeavors. My life is amazing, so no pity here.

I write all of this out so you can put in in perspective. From the outside, I am privileged. I got lucky. But, with all due respect, I need to turn this around.

There is a chance you have perfect health and you don’t need to worry about any of these issues I mentioned above. I hope that’s the case. If it’s not, then you know what’s it like. I’ve been to hell and back and I promise you that you don't want to see it. If you do have a fairly healthy brain, am I in a position to call you privileged now? Because you can travel solo without worrying about what would happen or you never have unexpected interruptions in your life to deal with health. I suffer from a very severe and rare mental illness there’s a chance that you don’t. Does that make you privileged? Depends on your definition. Technically, being born with a healthy brain is a privilege. Because people like me did not. But I’m not going to sling that P word around and use it as a weapon as many do to me.

Because we’re all human and we all have our shit, whether it’s skin color, abusive relationships, mental health, unexpected family death’s, you name it. We all have shit. God doesn’t make us all the same. Life is not fair. But when you look at someone and what they show on the outside, remember you know nothing about them. Nothing. So as for me. Sure, I'm privileged. I’ll take it. But before you discredit things I say or world views I have because of it, remember that there’s more to me than where I was born and what I look like.